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The Ascent - Interview covering length, crossplay, Q&A, performance targets

cormack12

Gold Member
Mar 21, 2013
9,828
25,146
1,540
Source: https://wccftech.com/the-ascent-qa-...-length-crossplay-and-the-games-living-world/ - thanks to Jemm Jemm
...more at link above

Few indie games can pull off an explosive debut as The Ascent did at the Xbox Series X showcase event in May 2020. Developed by the Swedish indie studio known as Neon Giant (founded by former Bulletstorm and Wolfenstein developers ), The Ascent impressed many right away with its blend of triple-A graphics production values and high-octane top-down shooting, a mix that we don't exactly see every day.

[..] we got in touch with Neon Giant's co-founders Arcade Berg (Game Director) and Tor Frick (Art Director) to offer you some exclusive info on one of the most exciting indie games in development.



Would you say that The Ascent has been inspired by Diablo and other titles in that genre?
Arcade:
We’ve taken inspiration from many many products out there. Be that games, movies, comics, and the like. But The Ascent is its own thing and one of the reasons we’re making it - is because we saw an opportunity to create and offer something you haven’t quite seen before. It’s a blend of action shooter mixed with RPG, narrative driven campaign with cutscenes and exploration, and very satisfying combat with covers and things going BOOM.


Many action RPGs these days tend to focus on replayability, adding procedurally generated elements to keep things fresh over an extended period of time. Will this be the case for The Ascent as well?
Arcade:
We’re focusing on making sure that the experience you get playing through the game is the best it can be. We’ve used procedural tools outside of the game to help us create and curate the vast amount of content you can find in the game, but you play in a set world where a lot of loot and secrets are determined. Having said that, we do have additional systems on top for unique encounters happening in the world to make sure that when you travel through already explored areas you always have a chance of finding something new. We’re more interested in giving you the best experience, than a seemingly infinite one.

How long do you expect The Ascent to last on average? Is there a lot of side content?
Arcade:
It depends a lot on your playstyle and how much of the world you want to immerse yourself in. From what we’ve seen, playing through the Main Missions will land you somewhere around 15-20h. On top of that you have many more Side Missions, treasures to find and a myriad of Codex entries to unlock and read about the world and what’s in it.

Can you share your approach to character progression and loot?
Arcade:
Sure! We’re putting effort into providing a diverse enough selection of gear to cater to different types of players. Every weapon, armor, ability, tactical equipment, and the like are handcrafted with authored names, descriptions, stats, and functionality. We don’t rely on randomness and hope it’ll pan out well. The weapons are spread wide in their usage with some high precision, other spray and pray or a blast to the face kind of deal. There are also more exotic or excessive varieties. They can be upgraded with resources you find through the game and the more dangerous areas you get access to and manage to survive in, the rarer upgrade components you can find to upgrade them even further. You don’t find a pistol that’s the same but better than another.

Depending on where you allocate your skill points you get from levelling up (or by finding in the world) you also increase your Attributes which is what powers the augmentation abilities. Each ability has a scaling factor tied to one attribute. By placing your points accordingly, you can fire off more spray missiles in a single use, etc. Weapons, armors and other types of loot are spread out throughout the world, with more dangerous areas generally offering higher quality stuff. But there’s also a chance of fallen foes dropping items - so make sure to not try and just circumvent a fight.

I know that you've already confirmed 4K and 60 frames per second on Xbox Series X. However, how are you optimizing The Ascent for the Xbox One and Xbox Series S? Can you share the target resolution, frame rate, and settings for these versions?
Tor:
We are trying to cater to each platform as best as we can, in regard to tweaking settings for maximising the visual fidelity. The different platforms have different strengths, and we try to adjust as much as we can to get the most out of them, but all versions look and feel similar and scale quite well. Resolutions and settings are in flux as we are optimising and tweaking, so not final yet, but we are targeting 60 fps at 1440p for the Xbox Series S, 4K at 30fps for Xbox One X, and 900p for the Xbox One.

Since The Ascent runs on Unreal Engine, are you going to support NVIDIA DLSS on PC and ray tracing on PC and Xbox Series S|X?
Tor:
We are in the optimization stage at the moment so we have not a definite answer on that. Having said that we are exploring all the latest technologies that allow us to deliver the best possible gameplay experience.

What do you think of Microsoft's Xbox Velocity Architecture designed for Series S and X? Will the game utilize DirectX12 Ultimate features such as Variable Rate Shading, Mesh Shading, and Sampler Feedback on Xbox Series S|X and/or PC?

Tor:
The technology is awesome. As for the single features, see the above answers as we are constantly optimizing the game so is a bit premature to disclose all. As a small team of 12 people, we have to calibrate really carefully any change to make sure the overall experience reflects our vision.

Will there be cross-play between Xbox and PC? Also, is The Ascent going to be an 'Xbox Play Anywhere' game?
Tor:
There will be crossplay between Xbox and the Microsoft Store PC-version, and it will indeed be an “Xbox Play Anywhere” game.
 

Fredrik

Member
Jun 27, 2005
9,760
3,630
1,650
Yeah, definitely buying it as well as the stuff that we have already seen
Yeah I’ve been wanting this since the first showcase, it’s an indie game that’s trading blows with the big guys, love the style, the perspective and the punshiness in the action is just 👌
 
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Rikkori

Member
May 9, 2020
2,548
4,851
435
This game looks juicy af, been so excited for it since the reveal!

let's goooo

Happy Come On GIF by FC Bayern Munich
 

MOTM

Member
Sep 6, 2013
286
806
605
I’m so confused at how we don’t have any release dates for the games shown at last years MS show.
 

quest

Not Banned from OT
Jul 17, 2004
6,185
3,180
1,695
I can't to play it. Each time I see it the game moves up my most wanted list. Oh cross play ftw so I can play with my friend! Now give me a release date!
 
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Salz01

Member
Jan 21, 2010
2,644
350
960
I’m so confused at how we don’t have any release dates for the games shown at last years MS show.
Came to post this. I get COVID and all, but this time last year they should have been pretty much ready to hit some sort of launch date in November. 6 months later (from November) and still nothing. I’m totally interested int the game, but wtf at all the Xbox titles.
 
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Fredrik

Member
Jun 27, 2005
9,760
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Came to post this. I get COVID and all, but this time last year they should have been pretty much ready to hit some sort of launch date in November. 6 months later (from November) and still nothing. I’m totally interested int the game, but wtf at all the Xbox titles.
It’s a small developer so they probably just want to get it right before they announce a launch date.

But I agree on the game output on Xbox, MS could’ve launched the console this year instead, they weren’t in any way ready for a 2020 launch. Great hardware but they better have a great second half of the year softwarewise or this launch will go down the history as the worst launch year yet.
 

Panajev2001a

GAF's Pleasant Genius
Jun 7, 2004
19,002
12,802
2,110
Source: https://wccftech.com/the-ascent-qa-...-length-crossplay-and-the-games-living-world/ - thanks to Jemm Jemm
...more at link above

Few indie games can pull off an explosive debut as The Ascent did at the Xbox Series X showcase event in May 2020. Developed by the Swedish indie studio known as Neon Giant (founded by former Bulletstorm and Wolfenstein developers ), The Ascent impressed many right away with its blend of triple-A graphics production values and high-octane top-down shooting, a mix that we don't exactly see every day.

[..] we got in touch with Neon Giant's co-founders Arcade Berg (Game Director) and Tor Frick (Art Director) to offer you some exclusive info on one of the most exciting indie games in development.



Would you say that The Ascent has been inspired by Diablo and other titles in that genre?
Arcade:
We’ve taken inspiration from many many products out there. Be that games, movies, comics, and the like. But The Ascent is its own thing and one of the reasons we’re making it - is because we saw an opportunity to create and offer something you haven’t quite seen before. It’s a blend of action shooter mixed with RPG, narrative driven campaign with cutscenes and exploration, and very satisfying combat with covers and things going BOOM.


Many action RPGs these days tend to focus on replayability, adding procedurally generated elements to keep things fresh over an extended period of time. Will this be the case for The Ascent as well?
Arcade:
We’re focusing on making sure that the experience you get playing through the game is the best it can be. We’ve used procedural tools outside of the game to help us create and curate the vast amount of content you can find in the game, but you play in a set world where a lot of loot and secrets are determined. Having said that, we do have additional systems on top for unique encounters happening in the world to make sure that when you travel through already explored areas you always have a chance of finding something new. We’re more interested in giving you the best experience, than a seemingly infinite one.

How long do you expect The Ascent to last on average? Is there a lot of side content?
Arcade:
It depends a lot on your playstyle and how much of the world you want to immerse yourself in. From what we’ve seen, playing through the Main Missions will land you somewhere around 15-20h. On top of that you have many more Side Missions, treasures to find and a myriad of Codex entries to unlock and read about the world and what’s in it.

Can you share your approach to character progression and loot?
Arcade:
Sure! We’re putting effort into providing a diverse enough selection of gear to cater to different types of players. Every weapon, armor, ability, tactical equipment, and the like are handcrafted with authored names, descriptions, stats, and functionality. We don’t rely on randomness and hope it’ll pan out well. The weapons are spread wide in their usage with some high precision, other spray and pray or a blast to the face kind of deal. There are also more exotic or excessive varieties. They can be upgraded with resources you find through the game and the more dangerous areas you get access to and manage to survive in, the rarer upgrade components you can find to upgrade them even further. You don’t find a pistol that’s the same but better than another.

Depending on where you allocate your skill points you get from levelling up (or by finding in the world) you also increase your Attributes which is what powers the augmentation abilities. Each ability has a scaling factor tied to one attribute. By placing your points accordingly, you can fire off more spray missiles in a single use, etc. Weapons, armors and other types of loot are spread out throughout the world, with more dangerous areas generally offering higher quality stuff. But there’s also a chance of fallen foes dropping items - so make sure to not try and just circumvent a fight.

I know that you've already confirmed 4K and 60 frames per second on Xbox Series X. However, how are you optimizing The Ascent for the Xbox One and Xbox Series S? Can you share the target resolution, frame rate, and settings for these versions?
Tor:
We are trying to cater to each platform as best as we can, in regard to tweaking settings for maximising the visual fidelity. The different platforms have different strengths, and we try to adjust as much as we can to get the most out of them, but all versions look and feel similar and scale quite well. Resolutions and settings are in flux as we are optimising and tweaking, so not final yet, but we are targeting 60 fps at 1440p for the Xbox Series S, 4K at 30fps for Xbox One X, and 900p for the Xbox One.

Since The Ascent runs on Unreal Engine, are you going to support NVIDIA DLSS on PC and ray tracing on PC and Xbox Series S|X?
Tor:
We are in the optimization stage at the moment so we have not a definite answer on that. Having said that we are exploring all the latest technologies that allow us to deliver the best possible gameplay experience.

What do you think of Microsoft's Xbox Velocity Architecture designed for Series S and X? Will the game utilize DirectX12 Ultimate features such as Variable Rate Shading, Mesh Shading, and Sampler Feedback on Xbox Series S|X and/or PC?

Tor:
The technology is awesome. As for the single features, see the above answers as we are constantly optimizing the game so is a bit premature to disclose all. As a small team of 12 people, we have to calibrate really carefully any change to make sure the overall experience reflects our vision.

Will there be cross-play between Xbox and PC? Also, is The Ascent going to be an 'Xbox Play Anywhere' game?
Tor:
There will be crossplay between Xbox and the Microsoft Store PC-version, and it will indeed be an “Xbox Play Anywhere” game.
Mind blowing… then you realise it is coming from a team of 12 people:
jurassic park mind blown GIF by Spotify


Do we have an ETA?
 
Last edited:

godhandiscen

There are millions of whiny 5-year olds on Earth, and I AM THEIR KING.
Mar 15, 2007
15,561
4,523
1,740
This game is missing its window of opportunity. It looks good, but the longer it waits, the better the competition for our attention gets.

I'm growing impatient.

This exactly ^
 
Last edited:
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Kuranghi

Member
Apr 17, 2015
5,354
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Super excited, can't wait for this one, I love the smoke shaders.

Do we know if the trailers are running on PC or XSX? I'd assume its usually PC for most marketing.

I ask because the performance is pretty varied from shot to shot, hardly any of it is locked 60 for an extended period, but I also dont see that persistent stutter anymore from the other trailers so thats great. Hopefully this is just optimisation stuff that will get sorted in the run up to launch.

If its Xbox footage and the drops won't be fixed for launch I'd hope they have a locked 60 mode with a lower res/DRS because I don't think this is the kind of game where you really want little framerate drops messing up your dash or the like. Locked to refresh rate is preferable to any drops imo, whether thats 30 or 60.

I couldn't hack the fps drops in RE8 for my first run so I had to turn off RT, totally took me out of it in combat and when I was trying to look around at stuff in the bigger/fancier-looking areas, it would be the same in this but more for the combat since the viewpoint is compeltely different to RE8.
 
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LordBlodgett

Member
Dec 8, 2020
449
668
320
This game looks great in every way. I love the graphics, the aesthetic, the gameplay that I've seen so far. I'm ok with them taking their time to get it right
 
Oct 26, 2018
19,844
27,584
820
Perfect game for GP.

No way I'd pay for a loot based game where the levels are exactly the same each time, where only the loot/monsters might be different. Ya, I get it that Diablo's acts are just jigsaw pieces that will always resemble the same setting, but at least its a bit different. Imagine how lame it would be if every Nephalem Rift were the same layouts.
 
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Fredrik

Member
Jun 27, 2005
9,760
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Perfect game for GP.

No way I'd pay for a loot based game where the levels are exactly the same each time, where only the loot/monsters might be different. Ya, I get it that Diablo's acts are just jigsaw pieces that will always resemble the same setting, but at least its a bit different. Imagine how lame it would be if every Nephalem Rift were the same layouts.
This is going off topic but I wouldn’t have any problem with any of that if the game is fun and the action is challenging. Sounds like most retro games to me. The main problem with modern games is that they usually aren’t fun or challenging enough to make replaying an area satisfying, so everyone wants autosaving every second so you never have to replay anything or randomized areas so you can fool yourself that you’re playing a new area.
 

CloudNull

Member
Oct 14, 2019
2,686
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490
Man Swedish studios have been on another level lately. Demeo is my current GoTY and the only game I see dethroning it is this.